Tuesday 20 February 2018

Limerick players clam up in bid to cool feud

colm keys

The Limerick players who have opted off the hurling squad in recent months have no plans to publicly respond to Justin McCarthy's radio interview on Wednesday where he reaffirmed his commitment to his two-year term as manager.

McCarthy's new-look Limerick squad play Wexford in a challenge match tomorrow before their first competitive outing in the Waterford Crystal SH tournament next week.

And the former Cork All-Ireland winner is adamant that there is a bright future ahead with Limerick under his stewardship despite the drain of players out of his squad in the wake of his October purge.

McCarthy also hit out at the 12 players for their apparent unwillingness to sit down and discuss the issues that have prompted this stalemate. He claimed the matters weren't about communication and were more to do with some players not wanting him or his management team in place this season.

McCarthy described it as a "pity" that the players wouldn't "answer our calls or won't come face to face with us to discuss anything".

Twelve Limerick players have opted not to play under McCarthy this season after an initial 12 were let go when McCarthy drew up a new squad in October. The genesis of the current stand-off was the failure of the management to properly communicate that decision to the 12 who were dropped, but it has since moved on to broader management issues.

One of the 12 players who has refused to play was contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday and said the group had decided to stick with their policy of not publicly commenting on the dispute for now, even in the wake of McCarthy's interview.

"We had a ring around after the interview and decided not to say anything publicly," the player said.

"We have taken that route for the last few months because we don't want the situation to descend. There is a squad in place, our decision not to play is our own decision and we don't want to inflame the situation any more."

The player said he had been contacted only once by a selector prior to Christmas and said he was of the understanding that McCarthy himself had not tried to contact any of the 12 personally. He added that they were willing to play for McCarthy until the manner of his squad release in October.

"If there has been attempts to contact players, I don't think they have been from Justin," the player suggested.


The latest addition to McCarthy's backroom team, John Tuohy, who is due to be ratified at next Tuesday night's special County Board meeting, took time out yesterday to contact local radio station 95FM -- which was discussing the hurling situation at the time -- and stress that there had to be dialogue.

Tuohy said he wanted to extend an olive branch for the good of Limerick hurling.

The appeals are likely to fall on deaf ears however as the players who have walked away have taken plenty of time to come to their decisions over the last few months, according to the player contacted yesterday.

"It has taken some longer than others to come to the decisions they have made, but everyone has made their own minds up. That's the key thing," he said.

Meanwhile Brian O'Connell has been reappointed as Clare hurling captain for 2010. O'Connell was captain during both of Mike McNamara's years in charge and had been considering emigrating to Australia at one stage over the winter.

However, he has opted to prepare for an eighth season as a Clare hurler. Pat Vaughan will be his vice captain, taking over from Gerry O'Grady, who filled the role last year.

Clare's first competitive game this season is against Waterford IT in Meelick and that will represent Gerry Quinn's return for the first time since last March when he was let go by McNamara for apparent disciplinary reasons.

Banner manager Ger O'Loughlin has named four of the All-Ireland-winning U-21 team for Sunday's opener; Cian Dillon at full-back, Domhnall O'Donovan at right half-back, John Conlon at right half-forward and Colin Ryan at left corner-forward.

In Cork, Michael Cussen will taste his first competitive senior hurling action with the county when an experimental side meets UCC in Pairc Ui Rinn. Cussen has switched codes to the hurlers after a personally disappointing 2009 campaign with the footballers.

Denis Walsh has wasted no time in giving him the exposure he needs, posting him at full-forward on a team that has very little previous experience at this level.

Ray Ryan -- captain of Gerald McCarthy's league squad in 2009 -- Shane Murphy, Paudie O'Sullivan and goalkeeper Martin Coleman are the best-known faces with Cian McCarthy -- son of former Cork dual star and selector Teddy -- included at half-forward.

Cork (SH v UCC) -- M Coleman; S Murphy, D Cunningham, R Ryan; D Rodgers, A Ryan, J Nagle; G Callanan, W Egan; M Harrington, C McCarthy, M O'Sullivan; P O'Sullivan, M Cussen, A Walsh. Subs: A Kennedy, D McSweeney, J Neville, M Ellis, D O'Callaghan, A O hAilpin, M O'Sullivan, S O'Brien and S Cronin.

Clare (SH v Waterford IT) -- P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, A Brigdale; D O'Donovan, B O'Connell (capt), G Quinn; D McMahon, P Donnellan; J Conlon, G O'Grady, A O'Brien; M 'Ogie' Murphy, F Lynch, C Ryan.

Irish Independent

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